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Doctrines & Morals

God can never be caged it in human conditions and terms

Num. 11:25-29, Jam. 5:1-6, Mk 9:38-43.45.47-48. On this Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time year B, the Church reminds us that God can never be caged within the confines of human conditions and terms. Irrespective of our presuppositions, we must always leave the greatest space for God. Today's first reading recounts an important point in the mission of Moses when the weight of his responsibility became burdensome on him that God decided to give him helping hands. To Joshua's greatest surprise, the unexpected happened, as two men, Eldad and Medad, out of the seventy men chosen by Moses received the Spirit of God and prophesied like others while in the camp. An overzealous young man came to report to Moses that Medad and Eldad were prophesying. The young fanatic was scandalized seeing these two men prophesying, thinking that the Holy Spirit was exclusively for those who received the spirit first. Moses said to him: “Are you jealous for my sake?” and Moses added, that the Lord would love to see all people prophesy. A similar story is found in today's Gospel, as Jesus sought the assistance of disciples to build the Kingdom of God in the world. John came to say to him: “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name.” John thought that the work of casting out devils was reserved for only the disciples.

Jesus advised John not to stop the man because he too participates in building the community of the people of God in the world. Jesus adds: “For he that is not against us is for us.” This is to say that any person of goodwill and who does what is right, what is good and pursues the truth, is a bona fide partner in building a solid community of God’s people. The experiences of Joshua and John bring to mind the age long expression about God in the Psalms: “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He wills” (Ps 115:3). God is absolutely free and He has His own logic of operation. We as His creatures received our freedom from God. The problem is that sometimes we want to completely decide for God and to place Him under the terms of our conditions. We must always realise that our plans are myopic and based on the limited nature of human understanding. In every human rule and working principle, there must be the greatest space for God’s exercise of His absolute freedom. One who does not understand this style of Divine Operation will surely misuse God-given opportunities and also use them as means of inflicting pain and suffering on others and as weapons of exploitation and subjugation. Such a person does not understand that the gifts of God were never given to anyone to be above others, rather to be at the service of others. This is what James reminds us in todays second reading, that in cheating others and maltreating the less privileged, we bring the fire of God upon ourselves.

May the Lord help us to realise our limitations and recognise Him as the Only One who is truly in-charge! Amen!! Good morning and happy Sunday!!!

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